Robert J. Cross, Roscoe's first recorded settler


Jim McAffee, a board member of the Roscoe Township Historical Society, tells of his direct ancestor, Roscoe's first recorded resident, the Honorable Robert J. Cross, who was born on Oct. 1, 1803 in Newburg, Orange County, NY and who grew up in Bethel, Sullivan County, NY.

McAffee said, "Cross’s biography is listed in the 1877 county history and states that he and a younger brother went west to Detroit." He explained that “Cross bought a farm in Tecumseh, Lenawe County, Michigan where he resided until 1830 before moving to Coldwater, Michigan where he lived until 1835… at which time he relocated to Winnebago County, Illinois.”

McAffee said, "There wasn't any land on the market yet so he had to buy squatter's rights to his farm, which was in the area of where Edgemere Terrace is today in Roscoe. He spent the remaining 36 years of his life in Roscoe and was very involved with the creation of Winnebago County. He became a member of the election board for the county's first election held in 1836 and was elected county treasurer by the county commissioners for a 3-year term. In 1846, he was elected by the Whigs as a Republican representative to the general assembly in Springfield."

McAffee had in his possession copies of numerous documents and photos relating to his family's history in the area, including the 1877 edition of History, Winnebago County, Illinois, which lists a number of biographies and pictures of old settlers, along with the history of settlement in Winnebago County.

The Cross family's second home in Roscoe, built around 1842, has been purchased by Roscoe Township. The Roscoe Township Historical Society is raising money to restore it. Can you help?

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